LVMH annual fashion sales surge 47 per cent on US, China

The US and Asia were the key growth drivers, up 30 per cent and up 40 per cent in the fourth quarter 2021 versus the fourth quarter of 2019 respectively. LVMH chief financial officer Jean-Jacques Guiony noted the “steady improvement” in Europe, where sales rose 1 per cent in the fourth quarter versus the same period in 2019.

LVMH is leading luxury’s pandemic bounce back. Its 2021 performance underscores an ongoing pattern over the past two years in luxury fashion: the biggest players have fared best thanks to house cachet and marketing budgets. Sales at Richemont’s jewelery maisons, including Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels, rose 57 per cent in its third fiscal quarter from October to December, versus the same period in 2019.

“The earnings season has so far demonstrated that category leaders are smashing it: Richemont in jewelery and LVMH in leather goods,” wrote Exane BNP Paribas luxury goods analyst Antoine Belge. Consensus expectations for Kering in the fourth quarter of 2021 are an 11 per cent increase in constant currency relative to the fourth quarter of 2019 with Gucci at a 4.2 per cent increase, per Visible Alpha.

Speaking to the fashion unit’s performance, Arnault said that “the credit is first and foremost to Louis Vuitton, which is far more than just a fashion company. In fact, it’s not a fashion company. It’s a culturally creative company, ”he said. The dynamic teams and designers have “taken this brand from success to success whilst attracting the youngest as well as the most mature of our customer segments in the world.”

On the drivers of the performance in Western countries and China, Arnault reiterated that, “Louis Vuitton sells culture to Americans and Europeans,” and noted that the Morozov exhibition currently on view at Fondation Louis Vuitton has attracted 800,000 visitors so far. “The reasons why our products, our brands are extremely appealing: we sell a lot more than just fashion. I think that’s the most important thing. ” He added: “Indeed, I keep saying this, Louis Vuitton is not a fashion company. And all this is very attractive to our Chinese customers. ”

Asked how far along the house is in the process of replacing Virgil Abloh, the artistic director of menswear for Louis Vuitton who died in November, Arnault said: “Virgil was an extraordinary creator, more than a fashion designer. He was a man of culture. His last show that he had actually designed prior to his death di lui was a cultural event. It was not just a fashion show. We are still mourning him. Once that [mourning period] is behind us, we will consider the next move. “

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